Tom Kelly

At the ‘Reduced to Clear’

they form an orderly queue.

The youngest has money tight as love in his fist.

He has a note to remind him what to buy, ‘breed an’ crisps’.

His da works nights for a security firm. He is asleep

on the settee in the living room. Ma works

in Cheapland from six til ten.

He is seven next birthday. His sister plays round the shelves,

handles everything she can’t buy. Her dress

see-through under the stores’ brutal fluorescent lights.

Ken Loach- Please Be Dan Dare!

Ken, you might not like his conservative (with a small c) outlook,

his body language may change

watching your films but (for one production only)

can you wear his hat and take control,

save a million unemployed kids,

steer the craft, be Dan Dare and take Digby from Wigan

to something better than this?

So Ken, before you squint through the camera lens,

please take up Dan’s mantle, if only for me,

aged seven-and-three-quarters in Jarrow,

think Billy Casper without the kestrel,

afraid of the dark and Tories me and me da hated.

Please save us from these posh boys that make me so angry I have to lose

myself in Frank Hampson’s drawings of Dan leading his crew

against the Mekon: we need you to be Dan Dare,

“Quiet, please. Roll camera. Action.”

Tom Kelly © 2014